Tag Archives: Sophistry

Is Hari just Hapless and Harmless?

Promotional photograph of Johann Hari

Image via Wikipedia

For those who don’t know who Johann Hari is, he is a ‘leading’ left-wing/liberal journalist who writes twice-weekly for the Independent.
Recently, I wrote about the Ethics of Journalism where I posted a video about Hari’s controversial use of quotes. The plot has thickened.

Guy Walters, a commentator on the left-wing New Statesman has started looking further into the controversy since hearing about it, starting off as sympathetic to Hari before becoming increasingly outspoken about how bad and frequent Hari’s plagiarisms really are.

The first of his recent articles can be read here where Walters comments on the fact that almost every one of his quotes from his alleged interview with Malalai Joya have been plagiarised from her book.

The second, which you can read here, has more than a hint of irony. This time Hari plagiarises from the Daily Mail, a right-wing newspaper which supposedly goes against everything Hari stands for.

I was not a fan of Hari beforehand, maybe because of the way he passes off highly opinionated comments and spins as brute fact, or the way he speaks of financial history as if he were an expert when in actual fact he has had no formal training in either economics or financial history. He speaks on religion with an equal amount of certainty despite having no comprehension or open-mindedness with the issues at hand. All these things reek not of a leading public intellectual, for which he certainly is not one, as much as a public sophist. A sophist who’s been found out for what he is, too.